high-definition creative commons photographs from Candi Sambisari on the Prambanan plain together with further information.
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Sambisari is a 9th-century Hindu temple located at Sambisari hamlet, Purwomartani village, Kalasan, Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The temple was buried about five metres underground. Parts of the original temple have been excavated. The temple is located about 8 km east of Yogyakarta near Adisucipto International Airport.
The temple emerged in July 1966 when a farmer was working on land that belongs to Karyowinangun. His hoe hit a carved stone which was a part of the buried temple ruins. The news of the discovery reached the Archaeology office in Prambanan and the area was secured. The excavation and reconstruction works were completed in March 1987. The temple is thought to have been buried by an eruption of volcanic ash from the nearby Mount Merapi.
The discovery of Sambisari temple was one of the most exciting archaeological findings in Yogyakarta in recent years, leading to speculation about whether there are other ancient temples still underground in the vicinity, buried under volcanic ash.
Based on architectural and ornamental similarities to other Hindu temples in Indonesia, the presence of Hindu statues around the temple walls, and the lingga-yoni inside the main temple, historians have concluded that Sambisari was a Shivaite Hindu temple built around the first or second decade of the 9th century (circa 812-838). This conclusion was supported by the findings of a gold plate in the vicinity engraved with letters that according to paleography were used in early 9th century Java.
According to the Wanua Tengah inscription III dated 908 that contains the name of kings that ruled Mataram Kingdom, the temple was probably built during the reign of Rakai Garung (ruled 828-846). However, historians must also consider the fact that the construction of a temple was not always issued by a king. Lesser nobles might have also ordered and funded the construction.
Visitors must descend the flight of stairs on the western side to reach the central part of the temple, the base of which is 6.5 meters lower than the current ground level.
Recent excavations revealed the outer layer of walls surrounding the temple, which cover a wider area. Only the north-eastern part of this outer wall was excavated, the rest still is buried underground. The Sambisari complex was surrounded by a rectangular wall made from white stone measured 50 meters x 48 meters. In this main yard, there are eight small lingga, four located at the cardinal points and four others in the corners.
The Sambisari temple complex consisted of a main temple and a row of three smaller perwara (guardian) temples in front of it. The center perwara temple measures 4.9 x 4.80 meters, while northern and southern pervara temple measure 4.80 x 4.80 meters each. Each of these lesser temples has no stone body and roof, and only consists of a base part and balustrades.
The main temple is facing west and was a square 13.65 meters x 13.65 meters. The temple has no real base (foot) part, so the sub-basement part also serves as the base part. The stair is adorned with makara supported by dwarf (gaṇa). There is no Kāla carving on top of the main gate. By ascending the stairs, the visitors can reach the rectangular 2.5 meters wide gallery, which has balustrades surrounding the main temple.
On this gallery there are 12 umpak (stone bases), 8 bases took a round shape and 4 others are square ones. This stone bases were probably used to support wooden pillars, suggesting that the main temple used to be covered by a roof structure made from organic materials that now are already decayed and gone.
The body of the main temple measures 5 x 5 meters and 2.5 meters high. Around the temple walls are niches containing statues of Hindu gods, topped by a Kāla head. In the northern niche, there is a Durga statue, in the eastern niche, a Gaṇeśa statue, and in the southern niche, an Agastya statue. The portal to the main room is on the western side.
The entrance is flanked by niches that once contained guardian statues of Mahākāla and Nandiśvara. Inside the temple reside a yoni, measured 1.34 x 1.34 meters and 1.18 meters high. On the north side of the yoni, there is a water spout supported by a nāga serpent. Atop the yoni is a linga measuring 0.29 by 0.29 metres (11 in × 11 in) at the base and 0.85 metres (2 ft 9 in) high.
Text adapted from Wikipedia (retrieved, Sept 17th 2019)
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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